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Winter can be a tough time for gardeners. Sure, there are evergreen plants that provide plenty of green in the landscape, but by and large, the color palette gets a little bland. However, several plants will put out amazing flowers in the winter months, snow be damned.
And, let’s be honest, as lovely as a snowy winter can be, it helps to see something on the horizon, some reminder that there is a world out there full of bright hues and pleasant smells. What if the garden didn’t just give out in autumn and continued to surprise our senses?
If that sounds like a great idea, then it’s worth exploring the following list of plants for some flash in the frigidity. Some of these plants will provide blooms going into winter and withstand the weather. Others will bloom early in the year, as soon as January and February.
1. English Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Source: Spoken Garden/YouTube
Primrose is a perennial plant that is pretty much evergreen. It blooms in late winter and early spring, putting out lightly aromatic flowers that seem slightly too dainty for the weather. The flowers (and leaves) are also edible and provide a sweet addition to fresh salads.
2. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
A great plant for scrambling up trellises or arbors, or it can just be a groundcover. Winter jasmine lacks the aroma of other jasmine species, but it puts on a show when it’s most needed. The leaves aren’t even out yet. It’s deer-resistant and spreads easily.
3. Lenten rose/Hellebore (Helleborus sp.)
Lenten rose is easy to grow and has unique early blooms that dangle downwards. It has evergreen foliage, and the flowers come in a variety of colors. This plant is toxic for humans, pets, and livestock, and deer rarely bother it. Look for blooms in February.
4. Camellia (Camellia sp.)
Source: Great Home Ideas/YouTube
With easily over 200 cultivars, camellia is going to be a versatile choice for winter flower gardens. Tea plants are in this family, but for flowers, it’s best to go with other options. These usually bloom in late fall and can continue through the wintertime.
5. Crocus (Crocus sp.)
Relatives of the iris, crocuses are generally quite small flowers that grow from bulbs. They are perennial and early-blooming, adding low-lying flashes of color to lawns and garden borders. After a few years, they can be divided and planted in more spaces.
6. Winter Heath (Erica carnea)
It stays low and green throughout the year. Winter heath has no major disease or pest problems, and they work fantastically as groundcovers. They bloom in the winter and then make a nice mat of green through the summertime.
7. Snowdrop (Galanthus sp.)
Source: J. Parker’s/YouTube
Capable of poking up through snow-covered lawns, snowdrops are bulb flowers that bloom around February. They prefer wonderfully under deciduous trees, particularly those that leaf out late. They are pest resistant but can cause reactions when handled without gloves.
8. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis sp.)
Most of us know witch hazel as the replacement for alcohol, something we buy in the pharmacy, but that product is derived from a tree. Witch hazel trees put out amazing yellow flowers in late autumn, and it has a ton of medicinal uses.
9. Pansy/Viola (Viola sp)
Pansies come in an array of colors, and they look like something that should be part of the summer flower shop: dainty, small, and bright. They are, however, beautiful winter blooms (some are edible) and survive freezing temperatures.
10. Pussy Willows (Salix discolor)
Pussy willows are a very early spring bloomer in really cold climates, but they are great additions to the winter gardens, where snow is still around in March and April. These woody shrubs put out pretty yellow catkins that make great cut-branch flower displays inside.
Of course, growing the spring and summer flower gardens is great fun, but there is something especially alluring about getting flowers in the colder months. The burst of color hits the spot when flowers aren’t so commonplace.
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